This Friday marks the 46th celebration of Earth Day. What began as a local effort to bring attention to an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California has grown into a worldwide movement calling for a safer, cleaner planet. It’s hard to believe that anyone in 2016 would deny that the environment is crucial to our existence but, if anything, issues at the core of Earth Day are more politically divisive than they were in 1970. With one side screaming for limited governmental regulation on industries such as oil, mining, timber, chemical production, and nuclear power while the other side proclaiming that we are in the midst of a global catastrophe caused by overpopulation, willful ignorance, and corporate greed – well, there must be a place for human beings to have a conversation about the environment without heating things up any worse. Right?
With that in mind, here’s a little quiz to help generate a meaningful dialog:
The first formal celebration of Earth Day led to the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act. This was signed into law by which U. S. President?
Ready? Scroll down…
Richard Nixon. Nixon also created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate and enforce federal policy. It was one of the most popular accomplishments during his tenure as President. Then again, Nixon’s list of popular accomplishment is pretty short.
Next question: the movement against federal regulation found a champion in which administration?
No big surprise here…
Ronald Reagan. With his call for small government and pro-industry policies, the Great Communicator effectively gutted the funding for environmental law enforcement. Reagan’s appointees also eased restrictions on things like automobile emissions and suburban land development. With falling popularity, Reagan reversed many of the policies in his second term. By the end of his presidency, a whopping 138 members of his administration had been investigated, indicted, or convicted of illegal activities. The infamous roll call included James Watt, the former Secretary of the Interior, who was in charge of protecting the environment.
Final question: Which Presidential candidate declared himself and “environmentalist” in his campaign and went on to state that “Every day is Earth Day” before strenghtening the Clean Air Act during his time in office?
you’ll never believe this one…
George H. W. Bush – not what you might expect from a man who ran his campaign on the theme of Traditional American Values.
What may be no surprise to anyone is that the debate over environmental issues is not likely to end, even with the election in November 2016. Politicians will continue to use issues such as climate change and job-producing industry to sway voters. While weighing evidence and making informed decsions, check out the information on the EPA website. It’s more than just Earth Day niceties. Although, one day of niceties can’t be all bad. Right?